A Baltimore Circuit judge yesterday threw out charges of trespassing and defacing a sign against four of six people who climbed to the roof of the 5th Regiment Armory Jan. 17 as part of a protest rally against the bombing of Iraq.
The other two defendants still face one charge each in a jury trial before Judge Edward J. Angeletti that is scheduled to continue today.
The dismissals came at the close of the prosecution's case yesterday afternoon, when Judge Angeletti sent out the jury and evaluated the state's case on behalf of the defendants, who were representing themselves on the misdemeanor charges.
The judge said he found a lack of evidence and dismissed charges against Michelle A. Naar, 34, of the 7900 block of Liberty Road in Randallstown; Brian Barrett, 41, of the 1600 block of Park Avenue; Maureen Kehoe, 31, of the first block of South Washington Street, and Lin Romano, 34, of the 300 block of East 25th Street. A seventh defendant, Lutherville lawyer Howard Burns, pleaded guilty in District Court in February to criminal trespass and was sentenced to the 17 hours already served in jail after his arrest.
But Judge Angeletti also found that there was sufficient evidence on one charge of malicious destruction of property against Richard J. Ochs, 51, of the 1400 block of Gorsuch Avenue, to let the jury decide that case. Prosecutors had introduced into evidence a photograph that shows Mr. Ochs pouring what the defense said was a symbolic mixture of human blood, oil and sand on the armory sign.
Judge Angeletti also ruled there was sufficient evidence for the jury to decide one criminal trespass charge against longtime activist Max Obuszewski of the 300 block of East 25th Street. According to testimony, Mr. Obuszewski had asked police and military officials to carry him from the roof of the armory rather than leave as the others did.